William Martin.

Federal sentencing delayed for man once considered a murder suspect

The former Dayton man once considered for homicide charges after a December 2016 shooting left one person dead saw his sentencing date pushed back until June 1.

Federal prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum that William Martin, 25, should serve “significant” time in prison for a weapons charge related to a drug deal that ended with two men being shot and one dying.

Martin had a sentencing hearing Tuesday in Dayton’s U.S. District Court after reaching a plea deal last year on the federal weapons charge.

Testimony was given by Martin’s mother, father and grandfather, all who said Martin is turning his life around but didn’t know about his drug selling, running from police or possessing a gun.

Testimony also was heard from FBI Safe Streets Task Force Officer Gregory Gaier, who said drug dealers usually have weapons to protect themselves and their product. On cross examination, Gaier said he knew in street terms that a “lick” was a robbery, but said he didn’t know if the term was used in text messages between the two men who were shot.

RELATED: Man once accused of murder reaches plea deal on federal weapons charge

Martin fired a gun at Leo Montgomery III and Evon Walker in a car outside the Roosters Restaurant on North Main Street on Dec. 2, 2016, according to Dayton police. Montgomery, 21, died. Walker survived.

Court records indicate Martin fired in self-defense and that Montgomery and Walker planned a robbery of marijuana that Martin was to sell.

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“In response to their efforts to rob him, Mr. Martin shot and killed one of his customers and wounded the other,” assistant U.S. attorney Brent Tabacchi wrote. “Although Mr. Martin — like any person — should not have been subjected to an attempted heist, he — unlike a law abiding citizen — set in motion these events.

“He, in fact, brought a gun with him for the very purpose that he used it — to protect himself in the event someone attempted to forcibly take his illegal product.”

RELATED: Dayton man faces federal weapons charge after fatal shooting

Tabacchi wrote that after the shooting, Martin didn’t call 911 and didn’t wait for police to arrive, “rather, he fled from the area and presumably disposed of the gun that he fired at his customers. This callous and obstruct behavior only compounds the seriousness of the offense.”

The prosecution memo notes that Martin has completed his GED, has enrolled in online college classes and worked at various jobs, but those laudable efforts do not erase the seriousness of the offense.

RELATED: Arrest made in deadly shooting outside Rooster’s Restaurant

Martin was arrested by Dayton police shortly after the shooting and booked into the Montgomery County Jail on possible homicide charges.

A spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office has said that Martin’s state case was terminated March 7, 2017, without being reviewed by a three-prosecutor panel.

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Dayton police officials have said previously that Martin’s case wasn’t classified as a justifiable homicide, but said the facts of the case made it “appropriate” for the federal system.

Tabacchi wrote that drug traffickers shouldn’t operate under the assumption that they can bring firearms to transactions and then invoke self-defense laws to avoid federal crimes.

“A significant sentence in this case would help undermine that fallacious reasoning,” he wrote.

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In his sentencing memo, defense attorney Jon Paul Rion wrote that Martin was shot at the age of 8, had no previous felony convictions and has performed well on electronic monitoring while living and working in Georgia.

Rion included letters of support from Martin’s family, friends, employers and others and wrote Martin should only serve a “short period of incarceration.”

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